Tanner Uderitz’s eighth birthday was this month and like any second-grader, he asked for a bicycle.
He was also going to receive presents later at his party, until Tanner’s mother Julie told him about Abbey’s Angels, an organization that gives homeless children suitcases filled with school supplies and personal hygiene and comfort items.
She asked if he wanted to help and Tanner liked the idea.
Instead of gifts for Tanner, his friends brought suitcases to the party. He and his parents delivered 22 full suitcases to the organization, run by Abbey Peterman, 18, and her mother, Charlie, on Friday at Crosspointe Elementary School in Boynton Beach. Many of the suitcases were filled by the Uderitz family.
To thank Tanner, Abbey and her mother gave him a $25 gift certificate to Toys-R-Us to get those birthday presents. And, they presented him with a Citizenship Award.
“You’re going to make many, many kids happy,” Abbey said to Tanner.
Tanner, a student at American Heritage, said he wanted to gather the suitcases to “help other kids.”
“That’s what’s amazing,” said Crosspointe Teacher Courtney Roper. “It’s two kids that are making a difference.”
There are 2,979 homeless students in Palm Beach County, but for those children, there are gracious people like Abbey and her mother, who have plans to one day help the entire county.
Abbey is a John I. Leonard High student who is also enrolled at Palm Beach State College. She has volunteered for years at Crosspointe where her mother is the cafeteria manager.
Abbey’s Angels has helped 37 students through Crosspointe.
The plan is to expand by moving next to the five elementary schools most in need, and continue until all elementary schools are finished. Next, they’ll go to middle schools and then high schools, all in Palm Beach County.
Of the 2,979 homeless students, 877 attend schools in the Boynton, Lake Worth and Lantana areas, according to the Palm Beach County School district.
The next school Abbey’s Angels plans to expand to has 116 homeless students. And the one after that has 97.
“Our goal is to have every child have something they can call their own,” Charlie Peterman said. “It makes them know they matter. Every child matters.”
To learn about Abbey’s Angels or to donate, visit the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/ge83pc7a or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Abbeys-Angels-957898624288635/timeline